Redwater, Texas, Mayor Robert Lorance pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child in 2009 and to felony burglary in 1984.
Lorance is currently running for a seat on the Bowie County Commissioners Court.
Had it not been for a pardon in December 2003 by former Governor Rick Perry, Robert Lorance would be ineligible to hold public office. In 1983, Robert Lorance was arrested for burglary of a habitation. He and two other men stole firearms from a home in Texarkana, Texas, and sold them in Palestine, Texas, court records state. Robert Lorance pleaded guilty to burglary of a building in 1984 and was sentenced to 10 years standard probation. Retired Judge Jack Carter granted Lorance an early release from probation in 1986.
Lorance’s 2009 plea to injury to a child with bodily injury stems from allegations of sexual and physical abuse of his adopted daughter which were made five years earlier in 2004. In a statement which is part of the public record in Lorance’s injury to a child case, Lorance’s former wife states that she saw Lorance touch the then 14-year-old girl they’d adopted at age 6 in such a way that made her ask her daughter if Lorance had touched her inappropriately.
The next day the two left Redwater and moved to another state. A statement from the victim alleges not only that Lorance frequently beat her, but that he molested her beginning when she was a 7-year-old. The statement includes detailed accounts of sexual abuse and alleges that Lorance told her she would no longer have a family if she told anyone.
Records in the case include statements from other witnesses the girl told of the abuse and the results of a 2004 polygraph of Lorance which showed deception. Polygraph results are not admissible in court but can be used by a defendant when the results are favorable to them or by the prosecution in pretrial plea negotiations. An investigation by Child Protective Services into the allegations in 2004 resulted in a positive finding that the abuse occurred.
Lorance’s case was never presented to a grand jury for indictment. In March 2009, former Bowie County District Attorney Bobby Lockhart filed a motion to recuse his office from the case. The motion states that Lockhart, who now serves as 102nd District Judge, and the prosecutors in his office are acquainted with Robert Lorance’s father, Coy Lorance, who is retired from the Texas Department of Public Safety and who has served as mayor of Leary, Texas.
On March 3, 2009, retired 102nd District Judge John Miller granted the DA’s motion to recuse and appointed Assistant Attorney General Julie Stone to the case. On the same date, Robert Lorance pleaded guilty to a felony information, a charging document which does not require input from a grand jury, charging him with injury to a child with bodily injury by “hitting.”
Miller sentenced Robert Lorance to an eight-year term of deferred adjudication probation. Defendants who successfully complete a term of deferred adjudication probation do not have a final felony conviction on their record and remain eligible to hold public office. At the time of his plea, Robert Lorance was serving as Redwater’s mayor pro tem and had served on the town’s city council. He was elected Redwater’s mayor in 2010.
Lockhart granted Robert Lorance an early discharge from his deferred adjudication probation in 2014.